From education to employment

Half of Brits admit to post-festive feelings of dread as back-to-work looms

Teach First calls on more people to consider stepping into the classroom

Education charity Teach First marks 2020 as the “Year of the New Career”, with a third of adults eyeing up new jobs in the New Year as they look for something more fulfilling.

As 2020 begins and the festive season comes to an unfortunate end, a new survey by the education charity Teach First has found more than half (52%) of British working adults say they are dreading their return to work tomorrow.

Of those who providing reasons to dread returning to work, the reasons they ranked in their top three included ‘being bored’ (57%) and the prospect of ‘sitting behind a desk all day’ (51%). Meanwhile, just over a third of respondents (35%) said that they dread returning to work because they find their ‘colleagues’ annoying.’

For younger professionals (18-34-year-olds) and their older counterparts (those aged 55+), these figures are often higher.

For younger professionals providing reasons for dreading the return to work, 46% say that they dread the lack of meaning that came from their work compared to 56% of those aged 55+; while 62% of 18-34-year olds say that they dread feeling bored compared to 52% of those aged 55+.

The survey by Teach First also reveals that 18-34 year olds are less likely to find their colleagues annoying (30%), compared to those over 55+ (44%).

2020: the “Year of the New Career”?

The polling commissioned by the charity also reveals that many people are eying up 2020 as a year of fresh beginnings, with a third (34%) saying they are considering a new job in 2020.

But it’s among 18-34-year-olds where the number is highest, with three in five (59%) saying they are considering looking for a new job in 2020. This compares to just 9% of those over the age of 55.

Two in five individuals in the 18-35 age group (37%) have already started or say they will start looking immediately.

Of adults who are considering looking for a new job in 2020, their most popular motivations included better pay (64%), to do something more fulfilling (54%) and looking for a new challenge (49%).

These figures lead the charity to tout 2020 as the ‘Year of the New Career’, with Teach First calling on more of us to consider changing careers and stepping into the classroom.

Zoe Wallace, Year 4 teacher at Greenhill Academy in Oldham: 

“I spent so many years studying to be a lawyer, but it never lived up to what I expected. It just never clicked for me. Instead, it felt monotonous – processing the same things day in day out and not making the difference I hoped for. So, I knew I needed to make a change.  

“That’s when I started to think about teaching. And the truth is, I’ve never looked back. 

“For anyone thinking about becoming a teacher, my advice would be: do it! Yes, it can be tough – but as soon as you see the kids suddenly understand something and smile at you with thanks – you’ll never be able to shake the feeling of pure joy again.”   

Russell Hobby, Teach First’s Chief Executive said:

“If your post-festive blues are getting heavier with the realisation that you’ll soon be back at work, you’re probably in the wrong job.  

“But if you speak to any teacher you’ll find that the highs always outweigh the lows. That’s because each day is different. And best of all, you’ll spend them with young people. These   new colleagues will tell you what they really think, keep you on your toes, and value the skills you bring to work each day.  

 “In 2020, we hope that more people take this opportunity of the year of the new career and step into training to teach with us. You’ll finally make a switch into a profession that gives you purpose, earn whilst you learn, be supported to progress to leadership positions and have a career you’re proud of.” 

Teach First is recruiting trainees to teach in schools across England. They recruit on a rolling basis and subjects and locations will close as they fill. 

About Teach First: Teach First is an education charity with a mission to build a fair education for all. Through a range of school leadership programmes the charity supports teachers, leaders and schools facing the biggest challenges, serving the most disadvantaged communities.     

The charity has now recruited over 14,000 teachers and leaders, has over 60 head teachers in their alumni and has supported over a million pupils.    

Those on the Training Programme commit to a minimum of two years at their partner school, where they teach a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) timetable; and around half stay on for a third year. More than half of all the teachers who’ve completed training since 2003 are currently teaching.    

The charity supports whole leadership teams through Leading Together. Develops individuals to become effective leaders through Middle Leader, Senior Leader and Headship programmes leading to a National Professional Qualification. And provides Career Leader training to develop a long-term, school wide careers strategy to improve student opportunities after school.     

Teach First currently operates in Wales and in all regions across England: London, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire the Humber, North West, North East, South East, South Coat, South West and the East of England. 

About the research: Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,041 British adults aged 18+ online between 11th and 12th December 2019. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of all British adults by key demographics including age, gender, region and social grade. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available on

*Figures related to dreading going back to work after the festive period exclude those who are currently unemployed and those who work over the festive period. All figures included are NET: Top 3.

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